This is a perennial question almost every human being asks himself at some point in life, hopefully, earlier than later.

Are humans just naturally, biologically programmed to be violent? While each of us is capable of violence either by perpetuating it or in self-defense, can we control the tendency, civilization requires our controlling it? With the brain size we have and the mind we cultivate, as a collective, we seem to have such a challenge with this.

In short, do we have a choice between violence and peace? The answer may seem obvious, that it’s a definite yes of course, but do we? We believe we do but so much evidence, current and historic, indicates how slippery a slope it is.

If we have such control, and because peace is so desirable, both inside our minds and bodies and out in the world, why do we not truly prioritize it? No one in their right mind would want to bomb buildings and destroy civilizations, right? Let’s turn to Nature and see what She has to say.

Biomimicry is an excellent study and practice, perhaps up to a point.

In the case of some ant colonies, we find that the queen bee will sacrifice the lives of the worker ants if she feels her own demise is at hand. She will do the same to also save other queen ants, that is, those, if you will, of her same “elite class”.

Some ant colonies have been observed to enslave each other. Others act socially parasitically.

On the other hand, the bonobo is extremely playful, very loving, quite funny, wonderfully resourceful, affectionate, a peace-maker, amazingly sexual, and in many cases, quite generous in taking care of their own.

Of course, we see similar behaviors in the bonobos to ourselves. We share 99% of our DNA with them after all. And we see similar behaviors of these ants in Homo sapiens as well.

It is also true that some ants that are altruistic, that sacrifice themselves for the good of the collective, sometimes using their bodies as bridges for the transport of food for other ants.

Other species, from bugs to mammals, exhibit war-like, dominator tendencies, as well as exhibit some beautiful, loving and altruistic acts.

Again, this too is familiar to us Homo sapiens as well.

I led us into the entomological and animal kingdoms for a moment and now I’m leading us out. Let’s step into our own human shoes with Nature as the Mother who conceived, tested and evolved our biology. Nature too provides the basis for our psychology as an aspect of Her evolution.

Whether we believe that our larger brain and self-conscious mind evolved from the ingestion of mushrooms or other psycho-active plants, or is just an organic matter of evolution, or came from extra-terrestrial intersession with our species long ago as many believe including some scholars such as Dr. Zacharia Sitchin, we do seem to have a kind of consciousness that is not alone in Nature, but yet seems uniquely human.

Certainly, ethnobotanist and “penseur extraordinaire” Terence McKenna developed what has become a fairly well-known theory that psycho-active plants contributed to our type of creative intelligence and cultural development.

This development of self-consciousness may include the phenomenon called choice or “human will”. This opens a whole new conversation that snatches the idea of having no choice as suggested above and places it right at our fingertips.

What informs choice and decision-making? On what biological or psychological mechanism does it rely on? Sometimes it seems like emotions, hormones, whim, and instinct, are a result of reflective thought at different times. Certainly, we wish for decisions to be both rational and intuitive.

If we are most aligned with and entrained in the pre-frontal cortex, the brain vector for analysis and reflection, we are likely approaching choices that are not reactive but pro-active, yet without the heart, it can also be cold and calculating. Cool and warm, rational and intuitive, are the Yin and Yang of compassionate reflection and thinking.

Each brain center yields and offers different functions. Then there’s a level of development that involves each of these brains—reptilian, limbic pre-frontal cortex, add to these the heart and gut, what spiritual guide and dance teacher, G.I. Gurdjieff called 3-brained harmony.

Some consider that the exercise of our free will, hence choice, is a matter of a mental action or exertion, that by thinking through, by looking at options and alternatives, knowing that each one yields different consequences, we can choose non-violence and peace even when our instinctual, reactive nature is driving us toward violence. We do have the choice to inhibit that drive, natural as that drive may feel.

In some cultures, this is largely the definition of emotional maturity. It is for this that human beings strive and seek to become our “best and highest selves”.

As a long-time practitioner of Holistic psychotherapy, I entertain the belief that when we give the client time and space to unravel the pain, hurt, suffering and often trauma they experienced prenatally or in early childhood, when the wound we all experience in life is given space to be aired in what is perceived as a safe, supportive environment, rational, authentic and empathetic thinking can emerge.

Peace is a generic term as is the word war. Both appear in our internal and external worlds. As one of the highly-simplified tenets of the ancient Indian Holy Scripture the Bhagavad-Gita, suggests, war is first waged in the mind. Conquer it in here and you won’t see it “out there”.

All of our world leaders historically and currently, have experienced this same woundedness that we all have, that life “serves up”, no matter the background, gender or class. Because this pain is carried into adulthood typically unresolved, people project their pain ‘into the world’ in the form of acting the role of “strong man”, and hence, go headlong (with short sense) into battle.

An interesting example of this shows up in the book and film The Red Notice. One of the world’s greatest art thieves, when caught (that is, one of the many times), is unofficially diagnosed by his captor who suggests that the thief is taking unbelievable risks in his life simply to gain the love of his father, which he felt he never had. This is an example of how our current actions ‘play out’ from our past emotional wounds.

If we could have the patience and compassion to enter into deep dialogue, yes a form of therapy, not only but even with those we hold as adversarial, we could get to the ‘bottom’ of what is driving violence and war. You may laugh imagining Putin or Biden on a psychoanalyst’s couch—that’s not exactly what I’m saying! But if we were to invite them to deeper dialogue and listening on the levels of heart and soul, we could possibly have a world without the same intensity of current inner or outer wars.

When we get angry at and ridicule our war-mongering leaders and the sheep-like press and politicians willing to abandon their missions and morality for political and economic favor, it’s an expression of our deep frustration at observing integrity in disintegration.

It is appropriate to feel righteous indignation at the abuse of the People’s goodwill, trust and cheer.

The abuse of our hard-earned tax dollars paid into the system to serve, not the People but a war machine killing innocent people around the world in the name of Democracy, is yet another crime we are saddled with.

All the while the military-industrial complex is laughing on its merry way to the bank, depositing our money, which is our energy, which can be used to provide housing for those without, jobs for those without, and food for those millions right here in the U.S., without.

When we stop fighting in ourselves and go beyond ‘the monkey mind” we arrive at peace. We simply have no interest in fighting. We are the basis of peace. We feel and are connected with everything. It feels so good. Endorphins and serotonin are flowing! If we all stay awake to this sensation, this awareness and its subtly beautiful ‘vibe’, “we won’t want war no more.”

Another way of putting this is that there are some people who are willing to sacrifice their ego which would otherwise drive “alpha males” toward testosterone-based domination at any expense, at self-enrichment at any cost with everyone else suffering and paying the price, and instead, work for the good of all.

Egoic and self-aggrandizement keep us bound to violence, drives us to want to control and grab power, not align with peace and harmony. Fear is the dominant chord in their choir, not love. Why?

While it is wholly obvious that humans have been war-like during our entire history, and committing the worst of acts in the name of God, there have been times when we haven’t been at war.

I think it’s highly important that we make a definitive note of those times and their characteristics. What conditions were present when people were more peaceful in themselves and between nations? Possibly there was enough food and shelter for everyone and a greater level of overall prosperity, a larger middle class and visible, upward potential for the lower class.

While couples spat and people argue in a family, there is a lot of time when we are playful and harmonious.

We should study those peaceful periods and build on them, memorize them! Rinse and repeat.

I think that the human, while always able to fight and kill, is most set up biologically to experience pleasure, love, bonding, cooperation, laughter, joy and peace. The neuro-science bears this out. These virtues have sustained us through and since the hunter-gatherer times.

You have noticed by now that I have zoomed out to look at our human biology and psychology in general as a species to query about “Violence, War & the Human”, and have not ‘zoomed in’ to the particulars of “who dun what to whom” in any one of the many currently raging wars. This has its own appropriate place in resolving conflict as well. I argue that it is not central, but it is still vitally important. What is central is prioritizing peace in ourselves, and working out from there. It makes the possibility for success much greater.

My perspective is that war is a symptom of fear and violence an expression of the unwillingness to deeply listen. It is a shunning of our intelligence. Engaging in war is a form of profound laziness. It is an unwillingness to do the hard work of surrendering the ego, sitting down with those that are perceived as adversaries and talking through the thorny issues that are causing tension and conflict.

It may take a lot of talking and listening but when done with love and compassion, empathy, patience, good cheer, a dose of humor and understanding, those who appear as the biggest monsters can become purring pussycats. The cost of this form of dialogue is far less than the ravages of war on people and the planet, destroying everything in its path.

It's all a frame, and we’ve been framed by the smallest-minded, greediest and most egotistical people on Earth occupying positions of elected office, captains of industry that are war profiteers and media that are funded by both. It is a triumvirate that spells inhumanity and disaster.

That game is all about money, control and power, based on the unresolved conflicts of childhood, even though these leaders look “so grown up!”

Thankfully this era in humanity I believe is coming to an end. The evolutionary forces that have brought us to this point are pushing this old-fashioned paradigm out of existence. The intelligentsia of the world, in the arts, academia, science and many social enterprises, are pushing forward with a newer, more advanced, heart-centered paradigm replacing the reptilian-based, dinosaur-like one. It’s not happening quickly enough for many of us, but it is happening. Not just regenerative agriculture but regenerative, sustainable thinking is becoming the vanguard.

This old-world triumvirate keeps people enslaved by ignorance and blind, bound by a fool’s idea of patriotism and nationalism. Our duty is to be patriotic to the highest ideal and expression of ourselves, not to an individual country as all countries comprise the totality of the Earth which is one atom in the body of the galaxy and the Universe. Countries with borders don’t matter, cultures matter, people matter, and sentient life matters.

It sometimes appears as necessary but most times, war is a lazy man’s game. There is virtually nothing that cannot be examined, analyzed, felt and worked through to create healthy, good relations between people. When there is a will to do so and the outcome is for happiness, well-being and peace for all, there is a way, and everyone wants in!

To me, it’s hilarious, pitiful and sinful to watch grown men in military uniforms speaking on TV “with authority” about launching different types of missiles and killing machines at each other, and reviewing the distinguishing characteristics of “one missile being better and bigger than another”.

The symbolism and metaphor of what they speak is just simply too obvious.

This isn’t normal, this isn’t rational, and this isn’t adult, mature human discourse. This is a sickness that has been normalized. It is sad to see so many people who are just blind-sighted by war talk.

We have lost our minds, and those who perpetuate those discussions (as well as the interviewers) have gone stark raving mad! And yet, these few people deemed our leaders are promoted, appointed and anointed by Presidents. And the media follows along like well-behaved puppies.

What is normal is the proposal for peace talks for Ukraine-Russia and should also be for Yemen and everywhere else. Chinese officials are proposing this, the Brazilian President Lula is proposing this but not the Democratic Party nor Republican for that matter.

Brazilian President Lula’s former foreign affairs Minister, Celso Amorim, in an interview last month on Feb. 28 with Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman stated clearly that there is no winning militarily. There is only sitting down and talking until we come to peace. This is rational, appropriate thinking and speaking.

In Lula’s recent visit to the White House, President Biden tried to talk him into providing arms for the war, which Lula, to his credit, refused while urging Biden to start peace negotiations.

If we could see behind the emotional armoring of our leaders, pierce through the veil of Double-Speak and the Group-Think that the brilliant George Orwell so thoroughly warned us against, if people could recognize their own sovereignty and power in the eyes of each other, their own and the Divine, or just say the highest way to regard ourselves, if leaders weren’t puppets, enslaved as they are to their own unresolved pain leading to an obsession with power and money, we could truly have a world of sustained peace, and a world that recognizes and honors the sacredness, preciousness and gift of life.

We could have a world without war, internal and external. It would be a world of peace despite the ant warriors. We, humans, could exemplify peace to the entire natural kingdom and to ourselves.